Quantcast
pork barrel

Japan welcomes Kennedy as ambassador nominee



In this April 20, 2008 file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. shares a moment with Caroline Kennedy before addressing supporters at a rally in Scranton, Pa. AP sources say Obama is nominating Kennedy as ambassador to Japan. AP

TOKYO — Japan welcomed Thursday the long-anticipated nomination of former U.S. first daughter Caroline Kennedy as Washington’s new ambassador to the country, lauding her close ties to President Barack Obama.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the nomination reflected the importance the U.S. government attaches to its longtime ally.

“She is known to be very close to President Obama. As U.S. ambassador, one of the most crucial questions is if or how he or she can communicate a variety of issues with the president. For that role I would give her a big welcome,” Suga said.

The 55-year-old Kennedy was instrumental in helping put Obama in the White House, where her father, President John F. Kennedy, served until his assassination 50 years ago.

If confirmed as ambassador to Japan, one of the United States’ most important trading and military partners, she would be the first woman in the post. She would replace John Roos, a wealthy former Silicon Valley lawyer and a top Obama campaign fundraiser.

Obama announced the nomination Wednesday, offering the most famous living member of a prominent American family a new role of service to the country.

Many U.S. envoys to Japan have been big political names, such as former Vice President Walter Mondale and the late senator Mike Mansfield.

In a country that likes prestige and famous brands, though, the family name Kennedy would be certainly well received.

“Many Japanese people feel close to the late President Kennedy,” Suga said, adding that Japan’s government is willing to support her.

Kennedy lacks any obvious ties to Japan, a key ally in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, and some experts have expressed concern that she might lack the capacity to handle thorny issues in the U.S.-Japan relationship such as trade talks, tensions between Japan and China, and frictions over U.S. military personnel based in Japan.

Suga shrugged such issues aside, but some Japanese media — most of which covered the late breaking news briefly in their Thursday evening editions — noted that Kennedy’s potential as a diplomat is untested.

“Glorious Family, but Abilities Unknown,” said a front-page headline in the newspaper Mainichi Shimbun.

Some Japanese have expressed hope that Kennedy might be a good role model for Japanese women aspiring to leadership positions in a society traditionally dominated by older men. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said he favors reforms aimed at promoting a stronger role for women in business, such as wider provision of child care and longer leaves for new parents.

Kennedy helped propel Obama to the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination in a celebrated endorsement over Hillary Rodham Clinton, the only time she’s endorsed a presidential candidate other than her uncle Ted Kennedy in 1980.

She earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a law degree from Columbia University. She married exhibit designer Edwin Schlossberg and had three children.


Follow Us




Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Ambassador to Japan , Barack Obama , Caroline Kennedy , US government




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement
Marketplace
Advertisement